Infectolab - tick-borne diseases

Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever The Same As Rickettsia?

Lice, ticks, fleas, and mites carry numerous strains of bacteria. Not all of those are capable of infecting humans, but many can – so many, in fact, that it’s impossible for the average person to keep track. Vector-borne diseases are transmitted through the bites of these tiny creatures. Once they’re in the bloodstream, many of the initial symptoms are generalized and similar, as the body works to fight the infection with its natural immune defenses. This complicates matters and can make accurate diagnosis problematic.

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Infectolab - United States

Where Is Rickettsia Found In The US?

Many diseases can be passed on to humans through the bites of ticks, lice, mites, and fleas. Although these creatures are tiny, the bacteria they carry can wreak havoc in humans, leading to several serious diseases. This group of disorders is known as vector-borne diseases, which run the gamut from mild to fatal. One of the most difficult aspects of this group of diseases is how to quantify them all separately. Many begin with generalized symptoms that resemble a traditional infection. If patient and doctor alike are not careful, a disease can subsequently be misdiagnosed and left to develop unchecked. This is why it’s important that vector-borne illnesses are visible to the general public, and that there is plenty of readily accessible information about them.

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Infectolab - tick

What Are The Symptoms Of Rickettsia?

Rickettsia is a group of different viral diseases caused by the reproduction of the Rickettsiae microorganism after being transferred via tick, lice, mite, or flea bite. Rickettsia is only able to survive and continue multiplying inside living cells, particularly bacteria cells, because it cannot reproduce on its own. Rickettsia is divided into several different subgroups, including typhus and spotted fever, and all instances can be attributed to the group of Rickettsia bacteria.  

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How Do You Contract Rickettsia?

Most people know that you contract Lyme disease through a tick bite. But Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme-causative bacteria, is not the only pathogen that can be transferred via tick saliva. Other diseases can occur simultaneously with Lyme; these are called co-infections. Unfortunately, the public and medical professional education surrounding co-infections is scant at best. They can often compound the symptoms of Lyme disease, or cause disturbing new symptoms in their own right. Left untreated, they can also cause old symptoms to resurge, complicating treatment and prolonging patients’ suffering.

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Lyme-Time-test-tube

How Do You Test For Rickettsia?

Positive, concrete diagnosis in the field of vector-borne diseases has been a recurring problem. One of the biggest issues with Lyme disease is the misdiagnosis rate. This is hard to estimate accurately, but with chronic Lyme mimicking the symptoms of other, more common chronic disorders, misdiagnosis numbers are believed to be in the hundreds of thousands globally. Testing for vector-borne diseases (those spread by ticks, mites, lice, and fleas) can be a complex procedure, especially if the initial bite that caused the infection was not noticed immediately. Without specific telltale signs on the site of the bite, many of the initial symptoms of Lyme and other infections are generalized and hard to pin down. Compounding matters is the fact that if the tests are conducted too early in the disease’s lifecycle, they can often return false negatives. This is a recurring problem with disorders initiated by the Rickettsia pathogens. 

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